Scott Nelson

How is Joovv Light Therapy Different than Sauna Space?

“How is the Joovv different than Sauna Space?” 

We were surprised when we started hearing this question, so we want to clarify for anyone who’s newer to light therapy.

Joovv makes LED light therapy devices, while a Sauna Space consists of infrared (IR) heat lamps. It’s like a yoga studio and a boxing gym both being exercise businesses, but probably not seeing each other as competitors because their products are so different. Heat-based therapy and light therapy are both good, they're just very different treatments.

In this post, we’ll highlight the big differences between Sauna Space-style heat lamps and high-quality LED light therapy devices, and explain why Joovv is the medical-grade option with clinically-proven health benefits, FDA clearance, and a long list of endorsements from respected leaders in health, skincare, fitness, and pro sports.

    Heat Lamps Versus Clinically-Proven LED Light Therapy

    Ultimately, the difference is a question of heat lamps versus LED light therapy. If you want to dig into that subject, we wrote a whole post on the differences between heat lamps and Joovv.

    Here are the major differences:

    Heat Versus Light: Heat lamps like Sauna Space produce heat. No surprise there! Saunas and heat lamps are designed to induce heat stress. The problem is that excess heat can potentially damage your skin. There’s a reason you need to sit at least 18” away from an IR heat lamp—get too close and you’re at risk for a burn. On the flip side, the red and near infrared wavelengths delivered from Joovv’s LED devices produce almost no heat, and have been found safe and effective in hundreds of peer-reviewed trials. 

    Joovv’s LED-based therapy delivers clinically-proven wavelengths of light directly to your skin. This naturally powers your cells to make more energy, with a wide range of proven healing effects and health benefits. You can read a lot more about what that looks like under the microscope here.

    Medical scientists use LEDs or lasers when they conduct photomedicine research for a reason. You won't ever find them using IR heat lamps.

    Clinically-Proven Wavelengths: Not all colors and wavelengths on the natural light spectrum are the same. Nearly all published clinical data shows that specific wavelengths are the most beneficial for humans. Those are red wavelengths in the mid-600nm range and near infrared wavelengths in the mid-800nm range. [1] This is the clinical consensus, and those are the precise wavelengths Joovv uses.

    The wavelength spectrum delivered from the IR heat bulbs inside a Sauna Space is pretty broad. This article provides more detailed information, but less than 1% of the energy from heat lamps is delivered between 600-660 nm, and only about 2% is delivered within the 810-880 nm range. In other words, 97% of wavelengths from a heat lamp fall outside of the wavelength range known to produce the greatest health benefits.

    Power & Efficiency: In addition to heat lamps delivering inferior wavelengths, they don’t offer medical-grade power like a high-quality LED device. Light power, or irradiance, drops off a great deal as you move further away from the light. Heat lamps are a double-edged sword: too close and you can burn yourself. Too far, and you don’t get any real power.

    The graph below—based on independent 3rd-party data—shows the power and energy output of the Sauna Space, two different Joovv devices, and a few cheaper LED alternatives. Over the course of a 10-minute treatment, you can see the Joovv Solo delivers nearly 3 times the total power as the Sauna Space.

    Power Irradiance of Joovv Versus Other Light Therapy Devices

    Dr. Hamblin of Harvard Medical School, one of the most respected photomedicine researchers in the world, also agrees by stating, “A distance of 18 inches from heat lamps is recommended, and with the highly divergent nature of the heat lamp beam, the power density at that distance will be very low. You would need to spend much, much longer in front of a heat lamp to receive a clinically relevant dose of near-infrared light.”

    Size & Coverage Area: With light therapy, coverage and consistency are key. You can only get optimal benefits and short treatment times from a full-body device like a Joovv.

    The graph below—again based on independent 3rd-party data—shows the irradiance of the Sauna Space. Because they’re hot to the touch, you need to be at least 18” away, but at that distance, the irradiance is only about 1 mW/cm2. With this type of power, you’re going to need hours to receive a meaningful dose of energy.

    Official Power Irradiance of Sauna Space

    Heat lamps—like those in a Sauna Space—simply can’t offer the size, coverage, power, and wavelengths for clinically-relevant light therapy.

    Bottom Line: The Infrared Heat Lamps Found in a Sauna Space Aren't Ideal for Light Therapy

    LED light therapy devices like Joovv deliver clinical power with proven wavelengths and almost zero heat. IR heat lamps use a totally different mechanism of action. That’s not to say there can’t be benefits to heat-based therapy, but it’s completely different than light therapy—and the world’s best photomedicine researchers agree with this statement.

    If you’re going to use sauna-based therapy, we’d suggest one that delivers mid and far infrared wavelengths, because those generate the most heat and are supported by the most clinical evidence. For light therapy, LED devices that deliver specific wavelengths with optimal power work best, and that’s what we make at Joovv. Heat lamps do neither of these well because they can't generate enough heat for the purposes of sauna therapy, and don't deliver specific wavelengths (nor power) for effective light therapy.

    Check out our heat lamps article to dig deeper into the science behind all of this.

    Bonus Tip: Joovv is trusted by some of the top experts in natural health, fitness, and pro sports. You won’t find elite sports teams using heat lamps for muscle recovery, or leading skincare professionals using IR bulbs for anti-aging benefits. Click here to see why the world’s best choose Joovv.

    Scientific Sources and Medical References:

    [1] Chung H, Dai T, Sharma SK, Huang Y-Y, Carroll JD, Hamblin MR. The nuts and bolts of low-level laser (light) therapy. Annals of Biomedical Engineering. 2012;40(2):516-533.

    [2] Karu, T. I., Pyatibrat, L. V., Kalendo, G. S. and Esenaliev, R. O. Effects of monochromatic low-intensity light and laser irradiation on adhesion of HeLa cells in vitro. Lasers Surg Med. 1996;18:171–177.

    [3] Phillips. Infrared heat lamps/industrial product specification.

    Joovv light therapy products are indicated for use in the relief of muscle and joint pain, including arthritis and muscle spasm pain, and increasing of blood circulation, and relaxation of muscles. The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to support the safety or effectiveness of Joovv devices, or diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It's not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with your healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.

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